Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ant. I would, they'd fight i' the fire, or in the

air ;

We'd fight there too. But this it is ; Our foot
Upon the hills adjoining to the city,
Shall stay with us : order for sea is given;
They have put forth the haven': Let's seek a spot,

3 They have put forth the haven : FURTHER ON,] These words, Further on, though not necessary, have been inserted in the later editions, and are not in the first. Johnson.

I think these words are absolutely necessary for the sense. As the passage stands, Antony appears to say, "that they could best discover the appointment of the enemy at the haven after they had left it.” But if we add the words Further on, his speech will be consistent : “ As they have put out of the haven, let us go further on where we may see them better.” And accordingly in the next page but one he says

Where yonder pine does stand, “ I shall discover all.” M. Mason. Mr. Malone, instead of—Further on, reads — Let's seek a spot.

STEEVENS. The defect of the metre in the old copy shows that some words were accidentally omitted. In that copy, as here, there is a colon at haven, which is an additional proof that something must have been said by Antony, connected with the next line, and relative to the place where the enemy might be reconnoitred. The haven itself was not such a place; but rather some hill from which the haven and the ships newly put forth could be viewed. What Antony says upon his re-entry, proves decisively that he had not gone to the haven, nor had any thoughts of going thither. “I see, (says he,) they have not yet joined; but I'll now choose a more convenient station near yonder pine, and I shall discover all.” A preceding passage in Act III. Sc. VI. adds such support to the emendation now made, that I trust I shall be pardoned for giving it a place in my text :

“ Set we our battles on yon side of the hill,
“ In eye of Cæsar's battle; from which place
We may the number of the ships behold,

“ And so proceed accordingly. Mr. Rowe supplied the omission by the words- Further on; and the four subsequent editors have adopted his emendation.

In Hamlet there is an omission similar to that which has here been supplied :

«And let them know both what we mean to do,
“And what's untimely done. (So viperous slander]

Where their appointment we may best discover,
And look on their endeavour.

[Exeunt.

Enter Cæsar, and his Forces, marching. Cæs. But being charg'd, we will be still by land, Which, as I take't, we shall" ; for his best force Is forth to man his gallies. To the vales, And hold our best advantage.

[Ereunt.

we be.

“Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,

As level as the cannon to his blank,” &c. The words—“ So viperous slander,” which are necessary both to the sense and metre, are not in the old copies. Malone. * Where their apPOINTMent we may best discover,

And look on their endeavour.) i. e. where we may best discover their numbers, and see their motions. WARBURTON. 5 But being charg'd, we will be still by land,

Which, as I take't, we shall ;] i. e. unless we be charg'd we will remain quiet at land, which quiet I suppose we shall keep. But being charg'd was a phrase of that time, equivalent to unless

WARBURTON. But (says Mr. Lambe, in his notes on the ancient metrical history of The Battle of Floddon,) signifies without," in which sense it is often used in the North. Boots but spurs." Vulg. Again, in Kelly's Collection of Scots Proverbs : “He could eat me but salt.” Again : "He gave me whitings but bones." Again, in Chaucer's Persones Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. : “ Ful oft time! rede, that no man trust in his owen perfection, but he be stronger than Samson, or holier than David, or wiser than Solomon." But is from the Saxon Butan. Thus butan leas; absque falso, without a lie. Again, in The Vintner's Play, in the Chester Collection, British Museum, MS. Harl. 2013, p. 29 :

Abraham. Oh comely creature, but I thee kill,

I greeve my God, and that full ill.” See also Ray's North Country Words; and the MS. version of an ancient French romance, entitled L'Histoire du noble, preux, et vaillant Chevalier Guillaume de Palerne, et de la belle Melior sa mye, lequel Guill. de Palerne fut filz du Roy de Cecille, &c. in the Library of King's College, Cambridge:

· I sayle now in the see as schip boute mast,

Boute anker, or ore, or ani semlych sayle.” P. 86. In ancient writings this preposition is commonly distinguished from the adversative conjunction-but; the latter being usually spelled-bot. Steevens.

Re-enter Antony and SCARUS. Ant. Yet they're not join'd: Where yonder pine

does stand, I shall discover all : I'll bring thee word Straight, how 'tis like to go.

[Erit. SCAR.

Swallows have built
In Cleopatra's sails their nests: the augurers
Say, they know not, – they cannot tell ;- look

grimly,
And dare not speak their knowledge. Antony
Is valiant, and dejected; and, by starts,
His fretted fortunes give him hope, and fear,
Of what he has, and has not.

6

Alarum afar off, as at a Sea Fight.

Re-enter ANTONY. Ant.

All is lost; This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me: My fleet hath yielded to the foe; and yonder They cast their caps up, and carouse together Like friends long lost.—Triple-turn'd whore?! 'tis

thou

6 -- the AUGURERS—] The old copy has—auguries. This leads us to what seems most likely to be the true reading-augurers, which word is used in the last Act :

“You are too sure an augurer.” Malone. 9 – TRIPLE-TURN'D whore !] She was first for Antony, then was supposed by him to have turned to Cæsar, when he found his messenger kissing her hand; then she turned again to Antony; and now has turned to Cæsar. Shall I mention what has dropped into my imagination, that our author perhaps might have written triple-tongued? Double-tongued is a common term of reproach, which rage might improve to triple-tongued. But the present reading may stand. Johnson.

Cleopatra was first the mistress of Julius Cæsar, then of Cneius Pompey, and afterwards of Antony. To this, I think, the epithet triple-turn'd alludes. So, in a former scene :

Hast sold me to this novice ; and my heart
Makes only wars on thee.—Bid them all fly;
For when I am reveng'd upon my charm,
I have done all :-Bid them all fly, be gone.

[Exit SCARUS.
O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more :
Fortune and Antony part here ; even here
Do we shake hands.-All come to this ?--The

hearts
That spaniel'd me at heels °, to whom I gave

“ I found you as a morsel, cold upon
“ Dead Cæsar's trencher; nay, you were a fragment

“ Of Cneius Pompey." Mr. Tollet supposed that Cleopatra had been mistress to Pompey the Great ; but her lover was his eldest son, Cneius Pompey.

MALONE. She first belonged to Julius Cæsar, then to Antony, and now, as he supposes, to Augustus. It is not likely that in recollecting her turnings, Antony should not have that in contemplation which gave him most offence. M. Mason.

This interpretation is sufficiently plausible, but there are two objections to it. According to this account of the matter, her connection with Cneius Pompey is omitted, though the poet cer. tainly was apprized of it, as appears by the passage just quoted. 2. There is no ground for supposing that Antony meant to insinuate that Cleopatra had granted any personal favour to Augustus, though he was persuaded that she had “sold him to the novice.” Malone.

Mr. M. Mason's explanation is, I think, very sufficient; and *Antony may well enough be excused for want of circumstantiality in his invective. The sober recollection of a critick should not be expected from a hero who has this moment lost the one half of the world. STEEVENS. 8 That SPANIEL'D me at heels,] All the editions read :

“ That pannell’d me at heels" Sir T. Hanmer substituted spanield by an emendation, with which it was reasonable to expect that even rival commentators would be satisfied ; yet Dr. Warburton proposes pantler'd, in a note, of which he is not injured by the suppression ; and Mr. Upton having in his first edition proposed plausibly enough

“ That paged me at heelsin the second edition retracts his alteration, and maintains pannell'd to be the right reading, being a metaphor taken, he says, from a pannel of wainscot. Johnson,

5

1

Their wishes, do discandy, melt their sweets
On blossoming Cæsar; and this pine is bark'd,
That overtopp'd them all. Betray'd I am:
O this false soul of Egypt! this grave charm', —
Whose eye beck'd forth my wars, and call'd them

home;
Whose bosom was my crownet, my chief end',

Spanield is so happy a conjecture, that I think we ought to acquiesce in it. It is of some weight with me that spaniel was often formerly written spannel. Hence there is only the omission of the first letter, which has happened elsewhere in our poet, as in the word chear, &c. To dog them at the heels is not an uncommon expression in Shakspeare: and in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act II. Sc. II. Helena says to Demetrius :

“I am your spaniel,-only give me leave,

“Unworthy as I am, to follow you.Tollet. Sparnel for spaniel is yet the inaccurate pronunciation of some persons, above the vulgar in rank, though not in literature. Our author has in like manner used the substantive page as a verb in Timon of Athens :

“ Will these moist trees

“That have out-liv'd the eagle, page thy heels," &c. In King Richard III. we have

“Death and destruction dog thee at the heels.Malone. 9 - this Grave charm,] I know not by what authority, nor for what reason, this grave charm, which the first, the only original copy exhibits, has been through all the modern editions changed to this gay charm. By “this grave charm," is meant, “ this sublime, this majestick beauty.” Johnson.

I believe grave charm means only deadly, or destructive piece of witchcraft. In this sense the epithet grave is often used by Chapman, in his translation of Homer. So, in the 19th book :

but not far hence the fatal minutes are

ruin." Again, in the same translator's version of the 22d Odyssey:

and then flew
“ Minerva, after every dart, and made
“ Some strike the threshold, some the walls invade ;
“ Some beate the doores, and all acts rendred vaine

“ Their grave steele ofter'd.” It seems to be employed in the sense of the Latin word gravis.

STEEVENS. was my crownet, my chief end,] Dr. Johnson supposes that crownet means last purpose, probably from finis coronat

“ Of thy grave

1

« PreviousContinue »